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January 22, 2019

MP Babu condemns demolitions, demands traders compensated

Some of the flattened structures in Fedha estate, Nairobi, following an exercise by the county, July 12, 2018. /COURTESY
Some of the flattened structures in Fedha estate, Nairobi, following an exercise by the county, July 12, 2018. /COURTESY
Embakasi East politicians have condemned City Hall for demolitions that have left at least 300 residents jobless in Fedha Estate.
The Thursday demolitions were authorised by director of operations Peter Mbaya.
About 140 structures were destroyed. They included kiosks belonging to small-scale traders, stalls, jua kali workshops and hotels popularly known as vibandas.
Embakasi East MP Paul Ongili, popularly known as Babu Owino, and Utawala MCA Patrick Karani on Friday visited the traders and said the demolitions were inhumane.
Babu told the Star the demolitions had caused a lot damage to residents and traders.
“The stalls were the main source of livelihood for the traders. Some took loans to open their businesses and now the kiosks have been demolished,” Babu said.
“You do not oppress the same people who elected you. This is wrong.”
Karani said the demolitions will not strengthen security as the county government alleged.
“The structures contributed to keeping criminals away because the traders were always on the look out. I wonder how kiosk owners become a threat to security,” he said.
The MCA said the assembly’s Committee on Planning and Housing ought to explain the objective of the demolitions.
“The county government should tell us who will compensate the traders and why the demolitions were carried out without notice,” Karani said.
The traders said the demolitions have left them in misery. “I have run my business for five years yet I never received complains of insecurity or an eviction notice from City Hall,” fruit vendor Naomi Waithera said.
Ojwang Ouko said, “I opened my stall three weeks ago and put all my investments in it. I have lost everything in the ruthless demolitions.”
Mbaya said the demolitions were intended to bring order and not make people jobless.
“One of the reasons why the city is in a mess is because people have built illegal structures everywhere with an open space. Our roads will soon be impassable if we allow this to continue,” Mbaya said.
He said criminals use the structures as hideouts.
Mbaya said the demolitions will continue. “Next is Buruburu estate, Manyanja Road in Tena, Taj Mall area and the Embakasi East village,” Mbaya said.
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